Skip to main content

Lovepark End of the Year Awards II

Welcome to the second Lovepark End of the Year Award:
where the awards don't matter, and nobody cares!

Judges: Me (as always)

NOTE: There are a couple of dramas that I've watched that weren't included, and there are a couple of dramas included that I haven't finished. Thus, while not everything is included, I did try to mention most of the dramas I enjoyed this year.

Best "Ensemble" Drama

Yoo-na's Street

One of the reasons this show was epic is due to the phenomenal cast and characters. From the stunning Kim Ok-bin and the charming Lee Hee-joon as leads to the stellar supporting roles by the amazing Lee Moon-shik and wonderful Jo Hee-bong (to name just a few), Yoo-na's Street showcased some of this year's best performances and one of the best ensemble casts in a korean drama (alongside some of my other favorites). It's a long show (50 episodes), but with its length, it creates richly layered characters that are each deeply flawed but endearing. The characters in this show from the minor to the major are given more depth and breadth than some main protagonists in other dramas. It was truly a joy to watch these capable actors bring life to a wonderful cast of interesting characters. Hands down, the best ensemble 2014 had to offer.

Honorable Mentions: Misaeng (one of the best on point castings); Bad Guys (the main four were amazing)

Best "Let's Forget the Last Episodes Exist" Drama

Prime Minister and I
In quite a few rom-com dramas, the second half starts to falter and the penultimate episodes are usually awful or boring. Luckily, the last episode tries to tie everything in a neat bow and you finally get your satisfactory(?) conclusion. This award is not for those dramas, but the 2014 drama with the worst finale. Endings are one of those things that can ruin a show for me. Unfortunately, what started off as a surprisingly cute and watchable drama turns ugly. I regret watching the last couple of episodes of Prime Minister and I, and if anyone wants to watch, I say stop a few episodes short and make up your own ending. In fact, doing so might actually be less open-ended than the actual ending. The most frustrating thing about the last arc in this show was that it derailed all the built up plot and characterizations. It nullified everything that was charming in the show and made you feel hallow inside. Seriously, why shoot your own foot? Why? 

Best "This is Not What I Signed Up For" Drama

I blame my love for Yoon Sang-hyun and good promotions.
What appeared to be an interesting and thrilling show about a serial killer on the loose actually turned out to be a meandering and bloated drama. Unfortunately, its flaws outweighed its merits, and the show never really capitalized on its assets.

Honorable Mentions: Triangle (you were in no way a triangle... I want my hours back!)

Best "Now That's How You Kiss" Scene

Eugene and Uhm Tae-woong's kiss scene(s) in Can We Love

They say a picture is worth a thousand words...

Honorable Mention: kiss scene in episode 2 of Witch's Romance

Best "Wring Out My Heart" Scene

Jung Woong-in's filming scene in To My Dearest
It's a shame people don't know more about this little show. There are quite a few good scenes that are wonderfully shot that convey so much emotion. The whole show could win this award, but if I had to pick a particular scene, it would be when Dad (played by Jung Woong-in) breaks down and cries while filming. It's beautiful and harrowing.

Honorable Mentions: nearly every scene in To My Dearest especially the one where Jung Woong-in's character asks his best friend for help

Best "Wish You were My Best Friend" Character

Baek Na-rae (Ra Mi-ran) in Witch's Romance
Next to the prickly Ban Ji-yeon (Uhm Jung-hwa) is her best friend Baek Na-rae who sticks with her through the good and bad and stays by her side even when Ji-yeon can be tough to handle. Ra Mi-ran plays her with aplomb and is as awesome as always. There were quite a few "sidekicks" who I loved to watch, but Na-rae stands out on top with her adorableness and loyalty.

Honorable Mentions: Oh Jung-se in A New Leaf; Choi Dae-chul in Fated to Love You

Best "Parents" Couple

Boss Hwang (Kim Ik-joon) and Poong-cha (Jo Dal-hwan) in Age of Feeling

The makeshift family that welcomes in the protagonist is headed by the silent and thoughtful Boss Hwang and the caring and sacrificial Poong-cha. They act as the patriarch and matriarch of the gang, and they're love and loyalty for one another is heartwarming. Both are acted well with Jo Dal-hwan changing his image and Kim Ik-jun being a clear standout.

Best "Aw~ Inducing" Couple

Choi Shin-hyung/Go-bong (Shin Ha-kyun) and Choi Dae-han (Lee Jun) in Mr. Back
At first they bickered and misunderstood each other, but underneath the bitterness and yelling, they loved each other. I enjoyed the main couple in the show, don't get me wrong, but the father-son relationship really made me giddy. I especially loved their relationship in the last arc as they both made up for their past mistakes and finally spent time to bond. They slowly realized how much the other cared for them, and it was a bittersweet joy to see them finally be father and son to each other when the end was so near.

Best "Camaraderie" Couple/Group 

Team 3 in Misaeng

Chief Oh + Dong-shik + Geu-rae = Warm-fuzzies!
Need I say more? They were the bread and butter of the show. Their interactions were palpable, and the viewers stood next to Team 3 through the highs and lows. Chief Oh was the pillar and leader who forged on ahead and gave guidance. Dong-shik was the mediator who followed patiently and diligently, looking out for both Geu-rae and Chief Oh. Geu-rae was the eager newbie who brought a new sense of enthusiasm and really solidified the group. Separately, they were memorable, but together, they are unforgettable. I miss them already.

Honorable Mention: Axe Hyung-nim (Jung Jong-joon) and Man-bok (Lee Moon-shik)

Best "My Love for You has Increased Exponentially" Actor

Kim Sang-kyung
I've adored Kim Sang-kyung for a while now especially after watching him in variety shows (I really enjoy his brand of self-deprecating humor). Thus, when I heard he was in a weekend drama opposite Kim Hyun-joo, I thought I'd check it out at least, and I am so glad I did. What Happens to My Family (가족끼리 왜 이래) is typical, and Kim Sang-kyung's character can come across as grotesque. However, I'm addicted and absolutely adore him in this role. Kim Sang-kyung really let's himself go and embraces the wacky which I find immensely entertaining. Heck, I'm so enamored by Kim Sang-kyung right now that I went on a movie and drama binge and watched most of his old works again. I'm happy as a fan that he's getting so much love and attention lately, and I can't wait to watch his new movies. Kim Sang-kyung ftw!

Honorable Mention: Park Yong-woo (his short drama hasn't aired yet but he's finally back with new projects after months of silence that I'm just too happy; yippee!)

Best "Why are You in this Drama" Actor

Lee Bum-soo in Triangle
Beating formidable competition, Lee Bum-soo takes this award again! Last time it was for Dr. Jin, and this time it's for Triangle. At least in the former, Lee Bum-soo had an interesting character with some good scenes. In Triangle, he's completely wasted which is why he beats the others. The character is bland and does nothing. Plus, Lee Bum-soo's acting is sub-par (aghast, I know). If you're a fan like me, take my advice: pretend this show never existed and go watch his other epics like Giant (Lee Kang-mo!).

Honorable Mentions: Oh Jung-se in Plus Nine Boys (not bad, but he deserves better); Yang Dong-geun in Three Musketeers (such a travesty that a talent like him is relegated to be comedic fodder)

Best "I Must Truly Be Insane to Watch these Shows for You" Actor

Jung Chan in Wild Chives and Soy Bean Soup: 12 Years Reunion and Lady of the Storm

Seriously, Jung Chan has only been cast in awful dailies, but he's still so awesome. I basically fastforward through the entire dramas until his scenes show up, so I don't actually waste that much time. However, it always surprises me how easily pleased I am. Granted, I don't like the shows at all, but I still watch for Jung Chan. I guess that's the point of most dailies, though. They're like smoking; you know it's bad for you so you shouldn't even try, but once you do, the addiction is hard to kick. Still, I'll hold out for the day Jung Chan finally gets an awesome role in a good prime-time drama.

Best "Now I Understand" Actor

Lee Sung-min
I've heard good things about Lee Sung-min, but I only saw his minor movie and drama roles that never really left an impression on me. It wasn't until this year with Miss Korea and then Misaeng that I finally understood what all the praise was about. Whether it's a trope or one of the best characters of the year, Lee Sung-min portrays his characters with humanity and makes them endearing. From his glances, tone, and subtle movements, Lee Sung-min is truly a versatile and amazing actor. I may be late to the party, but better late than never!

Honorable Mentions: Jo In-sung in It's Okay, It's Love (I didn't see it before, but I see the pretty now); Kam Woo-sung in My Spring Days (how did I not fall in love sooner?); Kim Tae-woo (I'm cheating with this one because I didn't watch his 2014 drama, but he was great in Pirates and I recently realized what an amazing and charismatic actor he is)

Final Comments
Looking back, there's a couple of dramas, characters, and actors that I've missed, but despite its short length, this consumes way too much time. Hence I'm going to finish it here, or it'll stay in unpublished limbo. Though I didn't give much awards out to them, there were quite a lot of female characters and actors that I enjoyed. Overall, it was a good year for kdramas with some spectacle gems among the duds.

Happy New Year!